For those of us too poor to afford h/w like that, & therefore not up on such stuff, how about some links?
Then we can drool & envy.
And in case I missed it, what's the final answer to the "fake" (pseudo) RAID Q? A link would help. IMO a very important Q, if only because of driver issues.
The standard advice when dealing w/ "fake" RAID chips is to treat them as add'l disk controllers & use Linux s/w RAID. I have some, very limited, experience w/ this.
AFAIK, Linux cannot be installed on a s/w RAID 0 array. Tinkster
asked the key Q: "Does it mimic a single drive to the BIOS?" If your chip can do this, present a single drive to the BIOS, then just install. If, as we suspect, not, then you need a tiny boot drive or boot partition(s) to get a kernel running that can see the (s/w) RAID array.
I recently bought a HighPoint RocketRaid 133 board & decide that claimed to support Linux, I eventually decided that messing w/ their driver wasn't worth it, so it's being used as an overpriced disk controller.
As for distro, I have 2 Q's:
Dual-boot or VM?
Desktop or what?
My current personal preferences are Debian Etch, SimplyMEPIS 6.0 moving toward 7, & AntiX -- the new slim ver. of SimplyMEPIS.